"I've been Harboring a Secret"

Disclaimer: I do not own Invader Zim or its respective characters.

Zim proves himself to be the complete opposite of everything Dib believed he was. Now, having joined forces alongside with a familiar and new cast of Irken and other alien characters, Zim and Dib are embarking on the Revolution that changes it all.

Please keep in mind that this story is completed, and will not be continued anymore.

-Juana

Chapter One: Discoveries

Thursday afternoon. Recess. Same old, same old. Same people, same nothing. He was getting bored and restless.

Oh, look. There was that stupid, bite-sized alien walking around, looking just as bored as Dib was. Nothing had happened all day so far, nothing new was learned, no one had talked to the boy, and he had done nothing to prove Zim's alien-ness. He had nothing new. He was tired of water balloons, food fights, insults and cameras. He needed something fresh, something the Irken wouldn't expect. But what? What would he never see coming from an earth child? A laser gun wielded by a human would shock him. A homicidal televison set. A clown of doom. The ability to speak Zim's language and call him names.

A number of midgets walked by and stared at the frolicking children through the chain-link fence that separated the free world from the oppression of the skool grounds. Dib looked at them and wondered why the midget numbers were rising so much. It was as though people were shrinking.

Never mind that. The fate of all humanity was at stake. What was original? Probably nothing he was thinking about before those midgets caught his attention briefly. Dib thought hard. What would the vile creature never expect? He got lost in his thoughts to the point where he heard nothing around him, not the screaming laughter of children, not the cars zipping on the roads beside the skool, not the clanging of metal chains on the swing-set, not the pitter-pattering of feet upon the black-top.

Until the bell rang. That horrible, ear-piercing shriek that always left him feeling partly deaf as he entered the skool once more.

Dib got up from the bench he was sitting on and walked right into someone.

"Sorry, didn't see you there." He sighed quietly. He looked up to find himself face-to-face with Zim. He jumped and yelled,

"Geez, Zim! How long you been standing there?" The alien laughed and shouted,

"STUPID HUMAN! At least five minutes. I'm surprised you didn't notice." Dib replied,

"I was just trying to think of new ways to expose you for what you really are. That's all." Zim shrugged and said,

"Oh. Okay, then. BUT YOU NEVER WILL! MWAHAHAHAHA!!" Dib walked past him and muttered,

"Whatever."

Ugh. The classroom. That hideous, dreadfully boring classroom. Dib hated it. No color, no happiness, nothing. A few stupid posters and a shelf of books that no one dared touch.

Students shuffled into the room, talking to one another loudly. Dib could hear Torque telling someone that after skool, he would give Dib a wedgie. Great. Just what he needed. It would be the fifth one this week. He'd have to escape from the skool five minutes early using the 'exploding bladder' excuse again.

'Maybe I should just kill myself when I get home,' he thought to himself. He stared at the chalk-board, waiting for something to happen. He dreaded that horrible teacher's entrance. He somehow managed to hate her more than he hated Zim. He wished for anything to stop her from coming to class. A fall down the stairs, a rabid gopher biting her in the neck till her veins popped, maybe an explosion that would fry her already half-dead body.

And here she comes, ladies and gentlemen! Dib silently cursed and lowered his head as Ms. Bitters took her place at her desk. She scanned the room for any missing students, then announced,

"Mandatory skool assembly. NOW. Go." She pointed to the door. Dib lifted his head at this wonderful news. He would be spared her terrible lecture on how much life sucked. He jumped gleefully out of his seat and followed the rest of his class to the dark auditorium. The room had no chairs, leaving students to sit on the floor. He found a place in the middle next to his sister, who was lost in the artificial glow of her Game-slave II, as usual.

The rest of the skool walked in, also happy about missing class. Dib could see Zim looking for a place to sit. He scanned the room and spotted Dib. Great. He was headed over. He was going to pester the boy through the entire assembly. The alien climbed over people and shoved his way through rudely until he parked his little green ass right next to Dib.

"What is this assembly for, stink-beast?" He asked nastily. Dib shrugged and answered,

"I dunno. Why are you sitting over here?"

"To pick on you, duh. Mind if I shove these wires through your ears?" Zim showed him several thick red, orange and green wires that he produced from his PAK.

"I do mind. Leave me alone." Dib pulled his knees to his chest and stared at the small stage before the entire cluster of children. Zim looked surprised. Normally Dib would have attacked him in some way and started to scream about Zim's inhuman-ness. Odd.

The dim lights went out and were replaced by stage lights that lit only a small portion of the stage. A man walked out and introduced himself.

"Hi kids! My name is Mr. Warson, and I'm from the 'Save the Peoples' organization. I have come here to speak with you about the horrors of war and what you can do to help. We also have Miss Sanchez, a social worker from the organization. Miss Sanchez?"

A tall, young woman stepped onto the stage and smiled at the kids. She had long, curly black hair and naturally tan skin. She looked Spanish.

Dib sighed. Now instead of listening to his teacher, he had to hear about war and death from a social worker. Yeah, that settled it. Suicide when he got home.

Miss Sanchez began her own little introduction.

"Hello. My name, as you heard, is Miss Sanchez. I am from Argentina, so please let me know if you have a hard time understanding me. I just learned English three years ago. I am a social worker, and I have worked with many victims of war and oppression. I come from a country which has been thrown into political turmoil, and many people have been tortured, murdered and kidnaped. It is because of these horrors that I am here, speaking to you. I will also be speaking to you about how you can help to make these tragedies end."

She stepped back and allowed Mr. Warson to speak. He gave his speech first, talking about people he'd met who had their homes taken away, whose families had been taken away from them, and so on. It was horribly depressing. Many students had left the assembly bawling their eyes out. He made everyone feel uncomfortable, including the teachers. When he ended his speech, no one clapped. They just stared with tears in their eyes. Warson cleared his throat and mumbled,

"Well, then. Um...Miss Sanchez?" She walked over to him, also teary-eyed. She coughed and started with a crack in her voice.

"Well, um. Wasn't that interesting. Children, I know these are hard to hear and I understand that you may feel sad by what you've heard, and that's why I'm here. I am going to tell you about things you can do to help these people. We don't want your money," she added as several students got up and nearly walked through the doors. They stopped and went back to their seats.

"Children, it is not hard to help. If you can donate canned foods to Save the Peoples, blankets, toys and clothing, that would be just wonderful. You could make posters to raise awareness of the horrors of war, and how to stop wars from happening. Hate causes war. And it doesn't stop with war. It also leads into all of your everyday lives. Many people today are murdered, and these murderers are people just like you. This is what I'm concerned with here. An example would be a child who is picked on all his or her life. They are called names, given 'wedgies', and have few or no friends. I'm sure that there are kids here who are picked on, and kids who do the picking on. Bullying is a major issue in schools today, and in this one as well. What do you think that leads to?" She paused. The room went completely silent. No one answered her question. She gazed around the room, waiting. When no one spoke up, she spoke louder.

"It leads to hate, children. Hate. Hate is a disease that plagues the mind, it feeds upon emotions and controls your soul. It leads to hurt, and this hurt can be directed towards others, or self-inflicted." She continued to speak in this manner, creepy and unsettling.

"There are people out there who want to hurt you, and you will have to be able to fight back."

The short lecture finally ended. The room was morbidly silent; no one spoke. They didn't need to.

"Um..." one timid teacher spoke up, "I guess we should all get back to class." Instantly, every person in the room jumped to their feet and tried desperately to get out of there. Dib stole one more look at Miss Sanchez. She didn't look offended; in fact, she wasn't moving. Her eyes were locked on something else, in his direction. He followed her gaze and found she was staring at Zim. No surprise. Zim didn't seem to have noticed. He wanted to get out of there just as badly as everyone else.

Dib shrugged and sighed. Back to boring, horrible class. More time to think about his soon-to-occur suicide.

The classroom was quiet. Ms. Bitters didn't speak. No one spoke, really. Dib doodled on his desk, wanting to just die right there. He glanced at the clock. Almost three o'clock. That was good. He noticed a silhouette moving outside the room. It seemed to be getting impatient, because the arms were crossed and the figure's head was constantly darting around and checking its wrist-watch for the time. Probably a parent.

Ten minutes....it was becoming unbearable. In just a few minutes, Dib would ask to use the bathroom and escape from the skool before he got that wedgie.

Eight minutes....

'Ah, screw it,' he thought. He raised his hand.

"Yes?"

"Can I g-"

"Yes." Wow. That was easy. She usually didn't give in that quickly. Dib left his seat and went to the door.

"Me, too." Torque rose from his seat. "I gotta go, too." Shit. He was still bent on the wedgie. Dib ripped the door open and bolted in the opposite direction of the bathrooms.

He had to get out of there...he wasn't going to let anyone have the pleasure of hurting him one last time. He couldn't wait to get home and...he didn't know. He had no idea how he was going to do the suicide. He could hear someone chasing him. He didn't look back; he didn't need to. He knew who it was. The double doors were only feet away from him. He'd be free soon....

Wrong.

A hand closed on his elbow. He yelled out and tried to throw Torque off. When he couldn't, he turned his head to spit in his attacker's face, and then stopped himself. Very nervously, he asked,

"Um...hi. Could you let me go?"

Miss Sanchez had quite a strong grip. She smiled softly and said,

"Are you okay, sweetie? You had me scared for a moment. Why are you running?" Her voice was different than when on stage. It had that motherly, caring ring to it. A ring Dib had never known.

"Yeah. Listen, I gotta go. There's a kid after me and I gotta get home so I-"

"Can commit suicide." Holy shit.

"Um...what? No...I gotta lock the doors and watch my little sister." Holy shit.

"I know what you were thinking, sweetie. Come on, you can help me pick someone up." She loosened her grip but did not let go. She pulled him back to his classroom. This was not supposed to happen. Damn bitch.

"I am not a damn bitch, sweetie. Calm down, okay?" Holy sh- aw, screw it.

She did not tell Dib to go back inside. She asked him to wait outside with her.

"There's someone in here that I need to speak with. He may be a little suspicious at first, but when he realizes who I am, he'll lighten up. And no, you are NOT going to blast yourself when you get outta here." She was reading his thoughts. How the hell was she doing that? Dib had never been so scared of another human in his life.

The bell rang. Finally. Dib could hear his classmates shuffling their things together. The door opened and they poured out like lava. Slowly.

As Zim marched out, Miss Sanchez grabbed his arm as well. He spun around and shrieked,

"HOW DARE YOU! YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO TOUCH ZIM! I'LL LIGHT YOUR EYES ON FIRE AND SUFFOCATE YOUR BLADDER!" Miss Sanchez laughed.

"Very cute. I need to speak with you, dear." Zim was appalled. He tried to break free of her grip but found he couldn't. He tried kicking her, and nearly bit her as well. He looked at Dib and hissed,

"You told her something, didn't you. You little pig-weasel...I'll kill you later for this." Dib shrugged.

"Okay. Just kill me quickly, though." Zim stared at his enemy, surprised at his words. Weirdo.

Miss Sanchez waited for the rest of the class to empty out, then stepped into the classroom. Ms. Bitters was shuffling papers and was preparing to leave. She looked up at the intruding woman and sneered,

"What do you want here?" Miss Sanchez smiled that infectious, bright smile and answered,

"I was wondering if you would let me use this room after you left. I need to speak with these two students."

"Fine. I don't care." Ms. Bitters stood up and left with her papers. That was easier than Miss Sanchez had anticipated. She closed the door and let go of Dib and Zim. Predictably enough, both of them pushed her out of the way and tried to open it. Zim was the most desperate of the two. Miss Sanchez quickly yelled,

"ZIM! Tashita matta suunto." Zim stopped his struggle with the doorknob and turned to face her. She began to speak English again.

"Zim, please listen. Come here." She held out her hand. Zim walked slowly over to her, as if he were in a trance. He turned around and said,

"It's in here, but I don't know where," he said, pointing to his PAK. Miss Sanchez whispered,

"Finally. Stay still, this is going to hurt a little." She somehow took a little scalpel out of her hair and sliced into the PAK. Zim winced but did not scream. Dib let go of the doorknob and walked over to them. Miss Sanchez didn't look at him, but Zim did.

"Heh. I've gotta lot of explaining to do, kid. Ach..." He whimpered. Miss Sanchez cut a little deeper and whispered,

"They put it in really deep. Damn it . . . wait, yes. There it is. Come here, you little tracking device of doom...." She took out a pair of what appeared to be the world's smallest tweezers, which looked very high tech, and inserted them into the PAK, then took them out again. It had caught nothing, but the woman stared at the tweezers with hatred. Dib was about to say something, but then noticed a little bright blue flash emit from between the tweezers. She crushed the thing between the tweezers' fingers until the light stopped blinking. She then dropped the device into her palm and threw it out the open window.

"Done," she announced. "Okay, Zim?" He turned around again and threw his arms around her knees.

"Thankyouthankyouthankyou....I was starting to lose my mind." Miss Sanchez picked him up and said,

"You're welcome, sweetie. Have you had any contact with the others?"

"No. I couldn't, not with that stupid thing on me. Oh, geez, where're my manners? Your highness, may I introduce Dib, probably the smartest and most open-minded human on planet earth. Dib, my Queen, Tallest Miyuki."

Dib was flabbergasted. Was this for real? He didn't know how to react. Should he bow? Was this a joke? Was Zim in on this with the social worker? But then that tweezer operation.. . . Eh. He bowed.

"Oh, child, stand up. It's alright. Zim, I trust you two are friends?"

"We will be soon." She put Zim down and waited.

Instantly, Dib began to babble and point at them both. Zim caught the words 'alien', 'holy shit', 'end of the world', 'wish', and 'camera'. Then the human boy stopped. He wanted to scream out profanities like never before. Here he had two aliens, one of which had just performed a tiny operation on the other, and he had no cameras, no way to prove that he had this, right here, in his classroom.

Zim began to speak. His voice was suddenly relaxed and calm. He sounded like a counselor speaking to a disturbed child.

"Like I said, there's a lot to be explained. Sit down." Dib obeyed and plopped down onto the nearest desk. "I am not here to destroy Earth, Dib. Not at all. Many years before my birth, there was a great war on Irk. But it was not with another race of aliens, but a personal one. Irken versus Irken. There were three Tallest in the war, Lady Miyuki here, Alonz, and Dargas. Alonz and Dargas wanted to take over the universe with the Irken military, but my Queen wanted to fight for universal peace. Being the oldest Tallest of the three, her dream was shaken off as the ideas of a crazy old fool and ignored. The other two started to train smeets... that is, baby Irkens, to become great, merciless soldiers of destruction and doom.

"During her reign on Irk, the Massive was being built to accommodate massive, no pun intended, amounts of machinery, weaponry, troops and for some reason, snacks. I still don't understand what it is with the Tallest and snacks.... Anyway, Miyuki decided that something needed to be done. She had witnessed many horrific battles between her soldiers of freedom and Alonz and Dargas' soldiers of doom. So, she decided that she would mess around with the downloading system that was used on new-born smeets...are you getting all this?"

Dib, in a complete trance, simply nodded with pure interest in his eyes. Zim continued.

"I happened to be the first smeet to have my download screwed up, but not the only one. I was quite defective, and caused a lot of not-so-good things to happen on Irk. I kinda plunged it into darkness a couple of times as a child...hehe....wow. Anyway, when I was old enough, Miyuki took me and many, many other Irkens like me, to a secret base, unknown to Alonz and Dargas. She told us everything: that we were her soldiers. She told us the truth behind our deficiencies, and somehow, none of us were offended. She explained the war that was going on above our heads, and the horrors of it. We all vowed to end the war and make peace with the universe. She gave us all assignments, as spies, soldiers, educators, scientists, whatever.

"But she spoke to me about my assignment in private before speaking of it to the other soldiers. I was to be the leader of the revolution if she ever died or was exiled and kept out by force. The word traveled quickly among the rest of her soldiers, and had to be kept extremely quiet. I already had the reputation of being the most bothersome of the defective smeets, and we could use that to our advantage. I went before Alonz and Dargas and gave them a great performance: I was loud, determined and evil in my acts. And that is what leaders want: a soldier who would fight to the death, determined to wipe out all other life-forms. I was placed on many different assignments by them as a pilot, scientist, Invader and so on. And each day for every job, I had a field day. I mesed up so many missions and even got the chance to rampage my own hideous, genocidal city. It sounds terrible, I know.

"Of course, I was soon hated. I was blamed for the deaths of two Tallest, Miyuki being one, and Dargas. By that time, however, there were three new Tallest: Spork, Red and Purple. They are the definition of asshole, really. They were growing at a rapid pace and so were inaugurated as the new Tallest after Alonz died. Sad thing is, they're almost the same age as me.... Anyway, Dargas, Red, Purple and Spork wanted Miyuki out of power because she was the only thing standing in their way of universal conquest. They were plotting to murder her. Thankfully for us, a soldier of peace overheard them making the plans for her murder to look like suicide. Miyuki came to me. I was a scientist at the time at Station Nine on planet Vort, and she told me to stage a fake murder on her. I created something I call the "Infinite Absorbing Blob". This thing could absorb someone and, when given the order via remote control, could spit them back out again safely, but only she and I knew that. Miyuki then came to the lab I worked at, and asked how everything was going. I jumped in and became the loud, obnoxious little jerk you know so well. She pretended that she did not know me. I introduced my creation, and using the remote control secretly, ordered it to absorb her. It went very well. I was accused of murdering her. The other three Tallest pretended to be upset with me, and changed my position. Then I wreaked havoc with a huge freakin' robot and stampeded my city. I was soon banished.

"Before I was sent away, I snuck the control to another Irken soldier at the station. I explained the blob to her and told her to wait to let Miyuki out. She was safe inside the blob, even after it escaped from the lab and went out to destroy. I don't actually know when you were released, my Queen." She laughed and answered,

"Oh, I think it was a week or so after. A few days after my release, your blob absorbed Spork as well. He's still in there. I think Dargas was smooshed by your rampaging robot moment." Zim beamed. Dib raised his hand sheepishly.

"Yes, dear?" Miyuki smiled at him.

"Uh, yeah. Stupid question, really. I was just interested to know what it was like to be in that thing."

"Oh, squishy. I felt fat. Imagine that, right?"

"And what about that chip? In Zim's pak?"

"I can answer that," Zim replied. "Before I was banished, I was given a trial with the two remaining Tallest. I was told my fate, and had my identification switched from Invader to food service drone. They wanted to keep me in contact, however. Not to speak with me, but to make sure I was behaving myself. I was just that dangerous. They placed the chip inside my pak while I was blindfolded. I didn't know what it looked like, what color it was, or where in my pak they placed it. They threw me off by making several hundred incisions in the pak, and man, did that hurt. This thing can feel pain if ordered to, or to an extent. Then I was shipped off to that dreaded planet."

"So..." Dib sounded very confused. "How the hell did you get here?"

"I escaped. There was no tight security system at the time, so all I did was run out of the back-room of the food place I slaved at. I heard about the Great Assigning, where new Invaders were given their assignments to conquer planets. I arrived and put on my obnoxious 'lookit me!' face. I was very pushy and acted completely oblivious to the damages I had caused in the past. And since Red and Purple tend to get annoyed very easily, they believe they humored me into thinking I was going to a real planet. I was supposed to die, but Miyuki had informed me a while before her 'death' that there was a rendezvous planet. It was unknown to the Irken soldiers of doom, and so Miyuki chose Earth as the planet and this city as the point. She found the coordinates and everything. I memorized them and found my way there. Ever since I arrived on Earth, I had to keep up my fake act as wanna-be conqueror. I talked to myself in an insane manner, fought you, acted stupid, and often came close to destroying the planet, but as you know, never succeeded, all on purpose. The chip was sensitive-it recorded all I said and did. Someone was actually monitoring me, and I couldn't screw up the revolution by saying one wrong thing. In fact, we probably already did blow our cover when Miyuki spoke to me in Irken dialect. But that was to be expected. I didn't know what her disguise was going to be like. I had to keep mine blatantly Irken for her to find me. I'm surprised at how quickly this happened, to be honest."

Dib raised his hand again. Miyuki nodded.

"So, that means that you never intended to take over Earth. Ever."

"Correct," Both Irkens answered.

"Dib," Zim suddenly fell to one knee, "I'm so sorry for all the shit I put you through. I promise, I will make it up to you. When we win this war, I will let you hand me over to your government for testing. I want the Earth to know that you were right all along." Dib's eyes grew larger than ever before. Here was Zim, a rebel from a distant planet, who had just told Dib the truth behind his arrival to Earth, being the most quiet and well-spoken person Dib had ever met, giving himself up selflessly.

"And Dib, don't reject my offer," he added. "This is my request, and I would be offended if you didn't take it. On Irk, when someone gives another a request or promise, it needs to be respected."

"Uh....geez. Can I at least get back to you on that?" Dib scratched the back of his neck. Zim rose to both feet and replied,

"Fair enough. But I'll let you know now that if you reject my offer, I will end up controlling you into taking me to the Earth authorities. Is that understood?"

"Yes. Um, Miyuki, your highness?"

"Yes, Dib?" She answered lightly.

"Can I see what you look like?" He glanced at Zim, who looked aghast at Dib's request. Dib was expecting Zim to scream and hit him for saying such a thing, but he didn't. Miyuki also looked surprised, but she nodded and answered,

"Yes." She stood up and took her wig off. She peeled the fake flesh from her face to reveal her true form. Dib stared in amazement.

She was beautiful. Her eyes were bright blue and so full of life, despite her old age. Her skin was wrinkled, leathery and faded. Her face was lined with wrinkles, there were dark green bags under her worn eyes. She was very old. She actually looked like someone who was motherly and caring. Her arms were long and slender, both of which were traced with visible veins. Dib could see her bones through them. She had a long face, and a warm smile. Beneath her human clothing, Dib could see the trace of her blue leader uniform. Her antennae were long and worn out, but they had a graceful, thick curve to them that Dib found amazing to look at. He had never met an older woman...erm... alien queen, who was so wonderful to look at.

"Oh, and Dib, sweetie," she spoke softly, " I can read minds. That's how I knew you were planning to commit suicide when you arrived home."

"Whoa, what?" Zim nearly shouted. "You were going to kill yourself? WHY?"

"I just-look, I don't plan on it anymore. I want to help in your revolution."

"I was hoping you would," Zim replied. He gave Dib a paranoid, concerned look. Dib felt uncomfortable, and broke the silence.

"So, then the Zim I knew... that was all an act? You aren't the loud, obnoxious little thing I know?" Zim laughed out in his familiar way and answered,

"Nope! I love to act. One of my favorite things to do, really. On Irk, we aren't allowed to have any individuality. However, the act did become a little annoying after a while, because I actually had to act without taking a break. All that screaming and yelling and talking maniacally, it hurts the throat a lot. No, I'm a quiet little guy. It sounds weird, huh. Listen, we should get going. My Queen, have you set up a base yet?"

"I'm afraid I couldn't. My Cruiser crashed in a desert in Arizona, and everything I brought to set up a base was destroyed. I was able to fix the Cruiser to an extent, and traveled here alone. The others, however, have an underground base near the ocean. I assume you have one as well?"

"Of course, My Queen. We should go there first and contact the others. Dib, you should come as well. Let's go." Dib, still utterly amazed by this new revelation from his former-mortal-enemy, followed Zim and Miyuki towards the door. They quickly replaced their disguises and walked out. Miyuki lifted Zim up in her arms and carried him out. Dib viewed this as rather strange, but he said nothing.

Dib ended up leading the way to Zim's house. He glanced back at the two Irkens behind him and noticed that Zim had his arms around Miyuki's neck like a little child. She didn't seem to mind, either. She was holding him very gently, the way a mother would. Dib would ask later.

They reached their destination safely. Miyuki let Zim down. He opened the door and pushed the robo-parents out of the way. He held the door open for Miyuki and closed it as soon as Dib stepped in.

"Whoa! You almost pushed me out, Zim!"

"Sorry. I got a little paranoid. I'm still in acting mode, to be honest."

"Yeah...." Zim shrugged and led them to the elevator in the living room.

"Computer, the act is over finally. We can speak as we are normally." The computer answered sarcastically,

"Zim, I'm a computer, not a being of flesh and blood. This IS how I communicate."

"No, I mean like we can drop the act. No more acting stupid or like we don't know what's going on."

"That was an act?"

"Oh, shut up. Take us, meaning me, Dib and the Queen Tallest Miyuki, to the communication bay."

"Yes, sir. Welcome to the base, your majesty." Miyuki replied,

"Thank you, intelligent computer. You do your people a great service in assisting us in our battle for universal peace."

"I'm flattered," the computer said with a hint of artificial embarrassment. The floor opened up, allowing the three people to step onto the platform. It lowered at a quick and smooth pace, and soon they found themselves in a huge room, almost the size of two football fields. Dib gasped in wonder at this amazing place.

"Now," Zim announced to Miyuki, "you may contact anyone you wish, my Queen. Who do you need to reach the most urgently?" He put his hands to a keyboard with a camera and speaker attached.

"I can do it myself, dear. I think it would be best if you spoke to your friend. He looks a little over-bewildered by this technology. Maybe you should explain some things to him. Would you be willing to teach him our language as well?"

"I would love to, my Queen."

"Good. Oh, and Zim? You don't have to call me "my queen" or "your highness". 'Miyuki' or mother will do just fine." Zim bowed and said,

"Yes, ma'am." He ran over to Dib.

"Hey, you. I'm going to teach you how to speak and read Irken." Dib's eyes grew even larger.

"Really? Wow. This is incredible...I mean, I can't believe it! I- oh, man. This is SO cool.... Oh! Um, don't take offense to this or anything, Zim, I want to ask you...um, what's up with you and her being all cuddly and such?"

"Eh? Oh, that. Back home, she believed in loving care for smeets, not the abuse the Military trainers put us through. She cared for her soldiers like children, me being one of them. She was the only person to ever hug me, or anyone for that matter. She is a mother-figure. She learned about mothers and love when she was sent to invade a planet when she was an Invader. Being on the planet with families made her realize that she was a death machine and had been brainwashed at birth. She learned that love was a wonderful thing and our people were shielded from it. So she changed her ways and became the greatest ruler Irk has ever known."

"Oh. Okay. Ah, geez...this is so awkward. This-this is so weird, Zim. Like I did not expect you to be..."

"Not psycho? I know. Heh. It's kinda funny when you really think about it. I wanted to let you in on it before, but I really could not risk it until I knew it was safe. I'm surprised you don't think I'm trying to trick you or anything. I mean, if I were the Zim you knew, I would have locked you inside a tube to study you like a little experiment after lulling you into this false sense of security." Dib's eyes darted suddenly around the room. Zim laughed and said,

"Don't worry. You're safe here. I'm not that kind of person. You know that now. You can trust me. Can I trust you in return?" He held out a clawed hand. Dib eyed the room once more, then stared into Zim's eyes. Could he trust the alien? This was a little too odd, now that he thought about it. Dib had been so desperate to learn more about Zim that he must have fallen straight into a trap. Yeah, that was probably it. Damn it.

Then again, Zim was acting different. He was so calm. And he wasn't pushing Dib to shake hands. He was waiting patiently. His face was even relaxed. Before, he always looked so stressed, so angry. Now, it was like all the stress had drained from his face. He looked happy, alive. Dib looked over to Miyuki. Zim had looked like he wanted to cry when he saw her. She didn't seem evil. She was the sweetest woman Dib had ever met. And that was really saying something, considering his past experiences with female doctors, teachers and students. He also had to deal with the fact that he hadn't been born normally. He was created by his father. That was a nice, pleasant thing to know. He remembered all the suicides he'd wanted to attempt when he found out, and it suddenly made him feel sick.

"Dib, sweetie, let it go." Miyuki's voice called over to him. "Being sad doesn't make pain go away. It makes it worse." Dib nodded and answered,

"I know. It just hurts a lot sometimes." Zim looked confused.

"What are you two talking about?" Miyuki answered in Irken. Zim listened and nodded as he came to understand the problem.

"Hey, Dib. Why don't you ask one of the human doctors to help you? Wouldn't that be the wise thing to do?" Dib laughed out.

"Right, Zim. Very cute. If I did that they would throw me in a mental institution and lock me up forever. I wouldn't be considered 'suicidal' or 'depressed'. I'm insane to them, remember? They want to keep me out of society." Zim dropped his head and stared, slightly ashamed at himself, at his feet and mumbled,

"Sorry. I kinda forgot for a moment there."

"Yeah. Sure."

"So, I'm guessing you won't be able to trust me, huh. I understand. I'm going to have to wipe your brain of all that you've seen and heard today, though. So if you would just step over here, I can-"

"I trust you, Zim," Dib yelled quickly. His voice echoed off the walls. Miyuki nearly jumped out of her skin, while Zim just stared at Dib. The human lowered his voice and repeated himself.

"I trust you. I really do want to help you in your revolution. I'm serious. I wish you could have told me about this when we first met. Why didn't you just write it down for me?"

"Because, one: we had already started off on the wrong foot. Two, you hated me from the beginning, and three, I hadn't taught myself how to write in fluent human English yet. And fourth, possibly, my handwriting could have been monitored as well. Irkens are great at linguistics, and we have English as a second dialect. All they would have to do is figure out the symbols I use and BOOM! They know what I'm telling you."

A loud beeping suddenly filled the room. Zim suddenly grabbed Dib's arm and threw him behind a ridiculously large piece of machinery.

"Do not, and I mean DO NOT, move from this spot. Don't move, don't make a sound and don't let them see you."

"Wait, who?" Dib tried to ask, but Zim pushed him behind the machine and grabbed Miyuki as well. He quickly led her to the same spot and repeated himself to her in Irken. He then raced over to his monitor and pressed a button.

The Tallests' huge faces appeared on-screen. Before speaking, they scanned the room for any sign of activity. Then they spoke.

"Zim."

"My Tallest!" Zim had resumed his familiar, Invader-act, sounding very much like the annoying little Irken messed-up Dib knew so well.

"Do you know why we are calling you?"

"I don't. Is there a mission you need an Invader for? Are you near the Earth? Wanna see me blow it up?"

There was a pause. The Tallest looked at each other, smiled slyly, then turned back to Zim. Red spoke.

"Actually, you're very close. We wanted to let you know that we are right by the planet known as Neptune in this 'milky-way' galaxy you told us of. Quite close to Earth. We've decided that this planet is to be used to its full potential. You've told us so much about the indigenous peoples there, and we realized that they could be the perfect slaves! Sounds grand, don't it?" Zim's antennae fell. He held himself together, somehow. It was the hardest thing he'd ever try to do.

"I-I...uh....yeah. It sounds....ohmyGodIgottagobye! GERMS!! EVERYWHERE!! ARGH!!" He shut off the transmission. Miyuki stepped out from behind the machine and ran over to Zim. He looked like he would be sick. Dib stood up and dusted himself off, then walked over to the two aliens. Miyuki was speaking to Zim in Irken. They were both shaking, and were definitely very nervous. Dib noticed that Zim's skin had faded to a sickly, almost yellow tint. He had been scared out of his freakin' little mind.

Miyuki picked the little creature up and held him tight, still speaking quietly. He didn't make a sound, but Dib was sure he was crying. He had never seen Zim so ultra-sensitive. Normally, the alien would have laughed it off and gone off to destroy something. But now he seemed so small, so helpless, like a child who had suffered a bad dream.

"Shh, shh..... Zim, nanche do shitere nassanto kiei seloyo-ei de. Atchma gote-de sindeki nogreste-"

"JAH!" Zim screamed. He began to scream in English. He'd grown so used to it by now that it was innate to him.

"NO! They DO know-they DO. And it's not your fault, my Queen. I'm to blame."

"How?"

"I just am."

Miyuki went quiet for a moment, still holding her soldier like a child, then whispered,

"Do you realize that I am the one who yelled at you in Irken? Do you realize that they were going to learn about the revolution eventually? Don't be scared."

"I'm not scared," Zim hissed through his teeth. "I'm just- feeling a little trepidation, is all." Miyuki made a face and responded,

"Only a little? Zim, you're terrified, and I don't say that to make you feel insignificant. I can't allow you to become frightened of something when you have already pledged your life to fighting it." Zim mumbled something incoherent. Miyuki asked him to decipher it. Dib noticed that she wasn't growing angry, but was talking to Zim like he was the disturbed child now.

"I said I lied. I am afraid of them, only because I know what they are capable of. Agent Carr said they were planning on torturing you before killing you, and they were planning the same on me. He said they wanted to use the Kintracho-chofi. I'd self-destruct before they'd strap me into that torture machine. I've known them long enough to know that they are pretty stupid and horrible leaders, but still dangerous and diabolical enough to do something sick to their own people. Fucking bastards."

"Thank you for telling me that, Zim. Now, to explain to Dib-"

"I understand the situation already, ma'am." Dib said with a hint of confidence in his voice. Miyuki nodded and let go of Zim. She stood up to her full height and said,

"Then we need to get to work. Zim, you and I shall call the others. Dib, you go up the main house and fix it up-make it look less freakish. Like the lawn gnomes and such. We need to make this place look less defective and more human. Those two poor excuses for leaders will be sending spies around this general area. Let's move, people."

Zim and Dib nodded and set off on their tasks.

"GIR!" Zim yelled loudly. A small hatch beneath him popped open, causing Zim to fall down. GIR peeked its little head up and said,

"YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSS?" Zim got back to his feet and answered,

"GIR, I have someone you need to meet."

"Okey-dokey." The little android lifted itself up and closed the hatch. When its bright cyan eyes fell on Miyuki, it actually gasped and exclaimed,

"She's PRETTY! Awwww...master has a GIRLFRIEND! WEE-OOO! Can I go to da wedding!? I wanna be the flower girl! YEAH!!" Miyuki chuckled.

"Hello, GIR. It's a pleasure to meet you finally. My name is Miyuki. I'm the only female Tallest from Irk. Do you understand?"

"I do. How old are you!"

"GIR! That's not acceptable." Zim snapped. "Now, go help Dib with the yard. He's on our side now." The robot looked confused.

"But I thought he wanted to save Earth."

"No, GIR. The real mission is to destroy the two bad Tallest and their army. We are the good Irkens. If Earth is destroyed, that means no more television, no more 'Angry Monkey', and no more Suck-Monkies. EVER. So, we need to keep Earth safe."

GIR's reaction was expected. It screamed and babbled insanely. It apparently had agreed to help them in their revolution because it grabbed Dib's arm and ran to the elevator. The two went up, GIR still shrieking. Zim and Miyuki walked up to the computer screen and typed in a name. The computer sent it out and instantly got a reply.

"Invader Chai here." The screen was fuzzy at first, then the Invader hit something. The screen adjusted itself. The Invader gasped.

"My Tallest Miyuki! Welcome to Earth! When did you arrive?" The Invader was female. Her eyes were dark purple, she seemed to be the same height as Zim, and had a low voice. The basic female Irken. She looked at Zim and yelled,

"AH! I can't believe this! We are ready to begin the revolution! This is amazing!"

"Yes. Chai, I need you to contact the following list of soldiers and tell them to meet at this location." Miyuki typed up a list of names, a location, and sent it to Chai. Meanwhile, Chai and Zim had a small chat.

"I miss you so much, Chai," Zim whispered. "I feel sick without you. I really do."

"I feel the same, Zim. I can't wait for us to get together again. It's going to be incredible. Once those two rejects are out of tyrannical power, Miyuki can change those stupid laws. I want to be with you again."

'I lo-" Zim suddenly was interrupted by the all-too familiar buzzing alarm that sounded when the Tallest were calling.

"Shit," Chai muttered. She shut off the screen but left the audio on. Zim heard her screen flicker on, and the voices of the Tallest filled Chai's base.

"Hello, sirs. Invader Chai here. For what do I have the privilege of speaking to my leaders?" Silence. Zim listened carefully. This time, it was Purple who spoke.

"Chai, we have a bit of an emergency. It seems that vile woman, Miyuki, is alive and well. And she is with the defective reject Zim." Chai acted surprised and angered.

"How DARE that creature be alive! How!? Where did you get this information?"

"The device we placed on Zim picked up Irken dialect. The voice matched Miyuki."

"Have you told others?"

"No. This is why we have called you. You, being our best (and most lovely)," he added sleazily, " female Invader, would do well in a mission such as this. You know how to speak with other females well, and considering how well you can communicate with males, we have decided that you will be the one to assassinate Miyuki, and bring the defective to us, alive. We need to interrogate him. Good luck on your mission. Here are the Earth's coordinates as well as Zim's base. Remember, we need him alive, and her dead." The transmission ended. Chai waited three minutes, then switched the screen back to Zim's base.

"Wow," she said. "That was interesting. I want to be the one to slit Purple's throat, okay? He's such a jerk. Oh-I just got your email. Wow. That's a lot of people. You will not be let down, my Queen. Zim, I look forward to seeing you again."

"Wonderful, dear," Miyuki replied. "Now go, before it's too late. We will see you in two days."

"Good luck, my Queen. Goodbye for now, Zim." Chai signed off. Miyuki turned off the screen, typed in another name and sent it out. While they waited for the next Invader to speak with them, Miyuki asked Zim about Chai.

"When did you two start to see each other?" Zim shrugged and answered,

"I think, maybe, when we were in Invader combat training. Our coach set us up to fight, and Chai kicked the crap out of me. Later that night she snuck into the males locker room to apologize for being so rough. We hadn't really known each other that well, but we got into talking about stuff. She told me that she was nervous about the revolution and wasn't sure what she would do if it blew up in our faces. I told her I wouldn't let it go wrong. We ended up falling in love that night. I'm so happy you showed us what love was, otherwise Chai would have been just another female I had to fight to rank myself up."

"That's wonderful. The-oh! He replied." Miyuki switched the screen on again.

"Invader Skoodge signing in, ma'am. How are you, my Queen?" He was still pudgy and short, but he spoke with the same confidence he had acquired after being mentally and physically abused by the Tallest. Skoodge was one of the few people in the universe who could take bad experiences and use them to better himself.

"Fine, thank you. Yourself?" Miyuki answered. Skoodge laughed and said,

"Can't complain. I'm guessing we will all be meeting at the rendevous base soon?"

"In two days, dear. I've already contacted Invader Chai and gave her a list of people to contact. I am giving you a list as well. I'm sending you an email with the names and the rendevous point coordinates and time in it."

"Great. This is so exciting. We're gonna win this thing, I know it. Hey Zim. How's it going?"

"Alright. Hey, I'm real sorry for that Hobo 13 accident. I hope you aren't damaged from it badly." Skoodge waved a hand and said,

"Nah. The bruises and cuts were gone after a few months."

"I meant mentally."

"Nothing at all. I'm alright. I'm just psyched to begin the revolution. I say bring it on!"

"Neat." Zim smiled. Miyuki cut in.

"Alright, here it is. I'm going to contact the others. Good luck, Invader Skoodge." He bowed and signed off.

"This is wonderful," Miyuki commented. "Everything is going alright so far." Zim nodded in agreement.

"SO, WHATTAWE GOTTA DO, BIG HEAD BOY!?" GIR shouted loudly at Dib. The human shrugged and answered,

"I guess we start with those gnomes. Can you disable them so they won't attack me?"

"YEP!" GIR's head opened up and out came a thin wire. The android swung the wire around rapidly and sliced each gnome in half. The gnomes sputtered and sparked, then died. Dib's eyes were huge as dinner plates at this amazing display of combat by the little robot. GIR smiled big and said,

"All done." Dib nodded and replied,

"Yeah. Let's get to work, then." He ripped a gnome's bottom half out of the ground and said,

"How exactly do we get it to the dump? We can't really just throw it into a trash container." The question was answered as soon as it was asked. The half-a-gnome jumped out of Dib's arms and exploded. When the dust settled, there was nothing left. The others followed suit. Dib grinned and said,

"Wow. That was fucking awesome. Now, the actual house. We'll need to change-I dunno, really. What would need to be changed?" He thought about it, then decided he would ask Zim. He really wasn't sure what to do. He called GIR back into the house and re-boarded the elevator. They went back down into Zim's main base. The first thing Dib saw was another Irken's face on the huge computer screen. It was male, Dib decided, because its eyes were crimson, and the antennae were shaped as Zim's were. This one was built bigger than Zim as well. So far, with Dib's encounter with females, their eyes were more feminine shades, and their antennae had a more sensual curve to them.

The Irken on screen jumped suddenly and screamed.

"What the hell! Why is a human in your base!?" Zim waved his hand and answered,

"That's Dib, the human who is going to assist us in the revolution. Dib, I would like you to meet Agent Angra. Angra, Dib." The Irken's antennae twitched slightly, but he nodded and hissed through his teeth,

"Nice to meet you, Dib."

"Nice to meet you, Agent Angra, sir." Dib replied cautiously. He did not like this Irken; he seemed very nasty and unlikable. Zim noticed the cold silence between them and said,

"So. Back to business. You will receive our email soon, and call the others. We will see you in two days." Angra nodded and said,

"Yes. Will the, uh, human child be there?"

"Yeah. Why?" The Irken shook his head and said,

"Nothing. I must go. Agent Angra signing off." He shut his screen off.

"Oh, that insolent little jerk!" Zim kicked at the air. "I absolutely cannot stand that bastard. Dib, be careful around him. Angra has a prejudice against humans. I dunno what his problem is, he always had a bad attitude. He could learn from Skoodge, you know." Miyuki patted Zim's head and said,

"He just had a few bad experiences with humans. His behavior towards Dib is normal and to be expected. But you are right: Dib, sweetie, when you come to the gathering, stay with Zim. We can't risk anything bad happening." Dib nodded in agreement. Zim crossed his arms and said,

"Anyway, how did you do outside? No more gnomes? Did they self-destruct?"

"Yeah. It was pretty cool. What else needed to be done?"

"Well, we'll probably be destroying my house tonight, but we'll need a place to stay. Do you mind if we stay at your home if we do?"

"Not at all. Uh...if you were going to destroy the house tonight, then why did I go out and destroy those gnomes?"

"Hmm? Oh, that. We needed to get GIR outta here so he wouldn't get in the way. But he still really needs supervision when he goes out, or he ends up bringing unwelcome things home."

"Ah. I understand." Dib laughed, "GIR would be the one to mess things up."